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Friday, August 24, 2012

Six ways to cool off: Taiwanese shave ice, gelato, naengmyeon and more


Clockwise from above left: naengmyeon, Frost City black sesame frost, City Cafe Taiwanese shave ice, Via Gelato lemon ice with li hing powder, Leahi Health Beverages smoothies, St. Germain sangria

It's hot and there's been no surf. So here's six ways I've been cooling off:

- Naengmyeon at YuChun: The broth supporting these thin, chewy noodles is like a slushy—a savory slushy with a vinegar tang. Topped with cool and crunchy cucumbers and ribbons of daikon, it's instant refreshment.
$10, 1159 Kapiolani Blvd., 589-0022
(Daechun, which also served naengmyeon, recently closed.)

- Fresh fruit or black sesame frost at Frost City: It's like shave ice, but the flavors are frozen into the water and then shaved into sheets as fine as the layers in Japanese wafer rolls. Frost City uses actual, fresh fruit, including Big Island lychee when in season. (The friend I take here makes sorbet with fresh lychee and she and the woman behind the counter  commiserate on the pains of peeling and pitting lychee.) The black sesame is also crave-worthy: nutty and creamy, dissolving weightlessly on the tongue.
$4.75 (small) to $6 (large)2570 Beretania St., 947-3328

- Taiwanese style shave ice at City Cafe: I always get a fully-loaded version here—shave ice topped with red bean; mochi; tapioca pearls; sweetened, stewed peanuts; creamy custard; and all of it drizzled with condensed milk. Wait, is there even ice under there? Oh yes, yes there is, drenched in brown sugar syrup.
$3.50 (for two toppings) to $5.50 (for five), 1518-F Makaloa St., 398-7598

- Kombucha smoothies from Leahi Health Beverages: Kombucha, that fermented, vinegary detox drink gets a palatable whirl in smoothies at Leahi Health Beverages in Kaimuki. I am not a kombucha lover, health benefits or no, but I'm a fan of the smoothies at this new kiosk next to a produce stand, across from Town restaurant. Tried and loved: Goji-a-Gogo, with POG kombucha, goji berry, papaya, banana and mint; and the Beetberry Blast Off with beet, strawberry, cranberry, acai. One a day will keep the meltdown away.
$5341 Waialae Ave.

- Gelato from Via Gelato: this cream colored gelato truck delivers immediate cool—mostly recently, in flavors of lemon ice, ginger, green tea haupia, banana lilikoi. You might have to eat it standing or walking on the hot pavement, so eat it fast before you or your gelato puddles to the ground.
twitter.com/viagelato

- Sparkling St-Germain sangria: Over the weekend, friends and I made quick work of an entire bottle of St-Germain, an elderflower liqueur that lends itself to wonderfully refreshing and easy drinks. We bastardized the recipes for the St-Germain Cocktail and Sangria Flora by combining sparkling wine, club soda and St-Germain with seasonal fruit: starfruit, pineapple and dragonfruit, the latter which added pretty much no flavor, but gave it a vibrant pink hue. 
About $40 a bottle, includes a carafe perfect for mixing sangria. Available at R. Fields, Tamura's, Whole Foods, 
 

Posted on Friday, August 24, 2012 in Permalink

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About This Column

From five-star restaurants to hidden holes-in-the-wall, Biting Commentary will let you know what’s hot and what’s not. Find out the latest restaurant news—who’s opening, who’s closing, which chef is moving on, where the great special dinners are. Discover the best menu items, fabulous wines, stunning cocktails, hand-crafted beers. Be the first to hear about upcoming food events and festivals.

Food editor Martha Cheng graduated from Wellesley College with degrees in Computer Science and English. She's a former line cook, food truck owner, Peace Corps volunteer and Google techie. Follow her on Twitter @marthacheng.



 

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